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Looking for Powder Mt. and Snowbasin tips!

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

We decided to head back to Utah (from New England) and this time we are going to try PowMow and Snowbasin.

 

We are staying in Eden at this place:

 

http://www.utahlodging.com/vacation-rental-home.asp?PageDataID=48766

 

The owner is giving it to us for $125/night :) It's 5 minutes to PM and 20 to SB. We are going to ski 3 days (Weds-Friday). The plan is to ski both mountains and then decide which we liked better for day 3. In the past we have skied DV, PCMR, Canyons, Snowbird, and Alta.

 

So, if anyone has any tips for us, that would be awesome. Maybe a good bar (we will mostly eat in the condo), best runs (I like powder and bowls, but not too steep and hairy), etc. Here a few questions I have off the bat:

 

Should we use the shuttle to get up to PM? I read that the road is really steep and treacherous.

 

Whats the deal with Powder Country and their cat services? I always wanted to do something like that. How tough is that terrain?

 

Does SB have back-county stuff that isn't too difficult? I can ski anything, but I'm 49 now (skiing my entire life) and don't want to kill myself!

 

Where is the best nearby grocery and liquor stores?

 

What do you like better, PM or SB? Why?

 

Anyone stay at Wolf Creek before? Just wondering how nice the rooms, pool, and hot tub are.

 

Thanks everyone!

post #2 of 28

I am not from Utah, but I made a trip to Eden, Utah last year. Snowbasin is the place to go. Its a luxurious ski resort owned

by Sun Valley. Three out of the four longest lifts in Utah are there. It is where they had the downhill for the Salt Lake City Olympics. Its a world class mountain. Powder Mountain is old, and creaky. I would definitely go a day since its so close.

They do have one high speed, and have some easy cat skiing options. Eden is not much of a town. Check out Huntsville.

Odgen is ok. Salamon has a gym/store there that I want to check out this year. Odgen Valley is very pretty. Snow basin is a beautiful resort. It is a different experience compared to Park City or Snowbird.Dont brownbag your lunch at Snowbasin, the dining is superb. Treat yourself. 

 

Steve

post #3 of 28

Track down 4ster on this site.  The man KNOWS SB.  

 

Only got to ski SB 4 or 5 days last year, and love it.  If the light is reasonable, From the top of Strawberry gondi try out down skiers right there in the bowl over by the area boundary, very easy to use side country.  Have a good time.

post #4 of 28
Quote:

Should we use the shuttle to get up to PM? I read that the road is really steep and treacherous.

 

Whats the deal with Powder Country and their cat services? I always wanted to do something like that. How tough is that terrain?

 

Does SB have back-county stuff that isn't too difficult? I can ski anything, but I'm 49 now (skiing my entire life) and don't want to kill myself!

 

If you can ski anything, why are you asking how tough the terrain is? rolleyes.gif

 

Pow Mow likely just opened. Not sure if Powder Country or cat services are open yet. I rode the cat services once (it takes you up a ridge above the area.) You end up back at lift-served terrain. If it's open, you can see where the cat goes, what terrain it serves, and whether if the conditions would be worth it. Wouldn't surprise me if some of those faces are still rocky. Plenty of ways down from there, from easy pitched open faces to some more challenging rolls through gulleys. It's fun, not extreme terrain.

 

Powder Country ends at both sides of the access road (you'll see the steepest faces on the drive up, since *most* of the steepest faces are at the bottom of the runs, right above the road.) If don't don't want to do any hiking at all, access Powder Country via the top of the Hidden Lake lift (consult trail map.) To me, Powder Country is more about the snow quality than the terrain, since there is better terrain in Utah.

 

Pow Mow has mostly relatively low-angle terrain. Steepest stuff is off either side of the bottom quad (name of the lift is escaping me.) It is a fun area, worth hitting for a day. Be advised that it has two base areas, the main base area is the second one up the road. That part of the area is a bit of an upside-down area (ski down from lodge), more common in the Mid Atlantic than out west.

 

With a decent car and tires, the drive up should not be that bad, especially if you live in the Northeast. It's more steep than twisty, but not always very well cleared.

 

Old school vibe at Pow Mow, different from the more upscale Snowbasin.

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info! I guess I worded that wrong, I used to be able to ski anything. I probably still could, but I just don't want to anymore. When you get a little older you will know what I mean. My knees just aren't what they used to be!

 

That said, PM sounds like it's going to be a blast! We are not going until the end of Feb, but I forgot to mention that! And yea, I also need some SB info. Both places look so different, I think this trip is going to be amazing!
 

post #6 of 28

Contact 4ster - he is Snowbasin local and is the best mountain guide!
 

post #7 of 28

Hit the Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville for a dive bar with great greasy fully-loaded burgers.

 

For Snowbasin, I don't know what exactly is considered in-bounds vs OB sidecountry. (I'm thinking of terrain accessed via gates which serves terrain in the same drainage as the resort trails.) And most importantly, what is open this early. There are gates at both ends of the mountain and above the lift served (which takes you back to lift served.)

 

The previously-mentioned Strawberry Gate accesses the bowl below the rocky chutes, and I always thought that was inbounds. Feels like it to me. Mid winter, you can continue along the top of the ridge (via a slightly higher gate) and ski down the chutes to the bowl. Doubt that stuff is open now. On the other end of the mountain, there is a gate near the top of the women's downhill. You can hike up the ridge a bit, and ski the open face down to the gulley under the John Paul Lift. (Or continue on a bit more into the treed area.)

 

This early, not sure how much bushwacking I'd want to do around Snowbasin. 4ster (or tromano) are your best bets for guides, if they are available.

post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
When you say "this early"' you mean now? I forgot to mention we are going in late Feb...
post #9 of 28

Both mountains are definitely worth visiting if you're all about skiing. For me, it's simple: Snowbasin on a powder day, Powder Mountain a day or three later, Snowbasin if it hasn't snowed in a while because it has more vertical and better groomers. As someone mentioned, do yourself a favor and eat lunch at Snowbasin. I love the carving station - a monstrous plate of leg of lamb, roast beef or turkey with sides cost $15 to $20 a couple of years ago, not sure what it is this season. There's also a stir fry station and other options.

 

In terms of the Pow Mow drive, it depends on how comfortable you are driving on (potentially slick) mountain roads. Unless it stormed overnight/during the day, it should be clear. It's steep, and I've seen some people overheat their engines climbing up it (well, one guy and I got close to overheating my first time up). I'd say if it's snowing and the shuttle is convenient (it stops right at Wolf Lodge, no?) then take the shuttle. Otherwise, it shouldn't be a problem.

 

I wouldn't recommend doing SB backcountry without someone that knows it. Hells Canyon is one of the easiest sidecountry areas to get into (just over the open ridge off of No Name), but it has several slide paths and typically takes lives every year. In terms of difficulty, if you're comfortable with the double-black terrain on the in-bounds side, you should be fine. Honestly, though, with only three days, you'll stay plenty entertained inside the ropes. If it's snowed within the past week or so, you should be able to find some evidence of it in the trees and whatnot. If it hasn't, SB's easily accessible sidecountry is likely to be as chewed up as the resort's non-groomed terrain.

 

Powder has two snowcat options: the single-ride Lightning Ridge cat for $18 a ride, and the day cat for ~$400 a day. Lightning Ridge is a fun option with some of Powder's longer, more challenging terrain. It's mostly black with one double-black chute, so you can control how challenging you want it. I recommend hiking up to James Peak for the extra vert (and less chance of tracks). It's worth trying once because not many places have a single-ride cat, but after that, not worth the money, imo. I've never done the day cat, but the snow looked absolutely sick when I was exploring around the cat track.

 

Only grocery store I know of is the market right in the middle of Eden, a few minutes down the road from your lodge. It's at the four-way stop and you can't miss it. For bigger grocery stores, head to Ogden. Not sure if there's a liquor store in Eden, but it's easy to find out - just look it up on the state liquor store site.

 

Carlos and Harley's in Eden has good Mexican; The Shooting Star Saloon in Huntsville is the oldest bar in Utah and a unique, little dive with good burgers; Twin Oaks in Ogden Canyon has good food and is a good place to grab a drink. Those are all within 10 to 20 minutes. Huntsville also has a BBQ place that I haven't tried. Ogden has way more restaurants, if you're looking for other options.

 

Never stayed at Wolf Lodge, but the views in that area are some of the best in northern UT.

 

I think that about covers the questions I can help with.

post #10 of 28

One more note: Powder Country is separate from the cat. It's located on both sides of the road, either from the Sundown area or main mountain. It's basically like in-bounds sidecountry where you ski down to the road and wait for the shuttle bus back. It's fun terrain, especially if you like trees, but the logistics of getting there and back (i.e. waiting for the shuttle, taking several lifts to access Powder Country, etc.) make it something I only do once or twice a day. Sundown's Powder Country is probably easier to lap because there's just the one lift, but I'm not really familiar with it.

post #11 of 28
Quote:
When you say "this early"' you mean now? I forgot to mention we are going in late Feb...

 

I didn't see your second post when I posted on Snowbasin. Given when you are heading out, there will be a crap load of real fun terrain open at both Snowbasin and Pow Mow! Don't be afraid to bushwack that time of year. Remove all the caveats I had in my previous two posts.

 

Under the resorts tab at the top of web site, check out the respective sites for Snowbasin and Pow Mow. (I am the resort Ambassador for Timberline, WV; the resort pages are useful (and expanding) resources on Epic Ski. I've also skied Snowbasin and Pow Mow > 10 times each, so I think I can give you some good advice for those spots.)

 

Discount tix: the grocery store at the four corners in Eden sells them for Pow Mow, mebbe Snowbasin also. I thought there used to be a Canyon Sports in Ogden, but looks like they have downsized. Others can give you more advice on this.

 

Snowbasin (consult the trail map). Lone Tree is a sweet steep (but not impossible) north-facing chute (great view of it from the restaurant at the top of Needles Express Gondi.) Just a few steps upwards and some traversing/skating from the top of Strawberry lift. Bowls to looker's right of it require more of a slog (around the back-side of that peak), but can be worth it at time. Along with some of the stuff directly under or to the left or right of the top of the Strawberry Gondi.  Wildcat Ridge. Tons of fun stuff off the John Paul lift. Do take the tram up and ski the tops of either the Men's or Women's Oly Downhill.

 

The steepest terrain @ Snowbasin is up (slightly above lift-served) or at the sides. The sides of some ridges that run down the length of the mountain have some steeper (but relatively short) lines. The whole of the Strawberry area is a friggin' blast to arc high speed turns at Mach 9. (I'm 51, so I'm not a TGR maggot.)

 

Snowbasin can be real rough on a low viz day due to lack of trees off most lifts. At a minimum, you are eliminating a lot of the mountain. Something to consider. Both Snowbasin and Pow Mow can get some funky sun exposure, so you *may* have to follow the sun.

 

Pow Mow: Paradise Lift is the lower lift. It is slow. Looker's right has some nice steeper (but not extreme) terrain. The gullies looker's left below it can be sweet. Cobabe Canyon is a slog out, Not a lot of vert and low angle with a long traverse out, but not a bad spot to try to milk days-old snow or a 6 inch day. We usually run laps on the Timberline lift at the end of the day. If you poke around, there is some fun stuff there (esp when your legs are tired.) Unless there is deep snow in the AM, bypass it for other areas of the mountain.


Edited by JohnL - 12/19/12 at 6:24pm
post #12 of 28
Quote:
I wouldn't recommend doing SB backcountry without someone that knows it. Hells Canyon is one of the easiest sidecountry areas to get into (just over the open ridge off of No Name), but it has several slide paths and typically takes lives every year. In terms of difficulty, if you're comfortable with the double-black terrain on the in-bounds side, you should be fine. Honestly, though, with only three days, you'll stay plenty entertained inside the ropes. If it's snowed within the past week or so, you should be able to find some evidence of it in the trees and whatnot. If it hasn't, SB's easily accessible sidecountry is likely to be as chewed up as the resort's non-groomed terrain.

 

I'll echo that. Once you get into different drainages from the main area, you need to think twice (and more) about where you are heading and what the snow conditions are like. Looking now at the SB trail map, all the spots I talked about appear to be in bounds (with the exception of the Sisters Chute's above the Strawberry lift.) There is way too much terrain for three days to want to consider hitting OB backcountry or sidecountry.

post #13 of 28

I'm headed to Eden as well, coming from PNW, will arrive Friday night and stay for a week (part visiting relatives, part skiing vacation).  

 

I appreciate all the above suggestions.  I see that Pow Mow and Snowbasin both have limited lifts and terrain open, so I imagine I'll do a day at each area and then hit some of the other areas.  I'm thinking Solitude and Brighton.  And feedback on how things are skiing right now?   Park City resorts? Suggestions?

 

Me: ski pretty much anything inbounds. Not Gnar, but double blacks are fun. 

Girfriend:  blue runs, maybe some easier blacks.

post #14 of 28

Photos, video and commentary on those two ski areas (and more) in this trip report:

 

http://www.dcski.com/ubbthreads33/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=61449&page=2

post #15 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by brumor View Post

 

Should we use the shuttle to get up to PM? I read that the road is really steep and treacherous.

 

Whats the deal with Powder Country and their cat services? I always wanted to do something like that. How tough is that terrain?

 

Does SB have back-county stuff that isn't too difficult? I can ski anything, but I'm 49 now (skiing my entire life) and don't want to kill myself!

 

Where is the best nearby grocery and liquor stores?

 

What do you like better, PM or SB? Why?

 

Anyone stay at Wolf Creek before? Just wondering how nice the rooms, pool, and hot tub are.

 

Thanks everyone!

The Pow Mow shuttle has a pick-up spot on the road as you enter Wolf Lodge.  I would use it if there is any snow on the road, it is very steep.

 

The Lightning Ridge Cat takes you up to access some nice bowls or you can add a 15-20 minute hike up to James Peak & ski down to Paradise lift.  You pay by the ride.  You need to pick up tickets at the window, I am not sure of the current cost.  There is also a "by the day" Cat skiing option that utilizes different terrain outside the ski area boundary.  The terrain is not tough.  There is no OB skiing at Pow Mow without paying for guided touring.  It is all private land & considered trespassing :(

 

I would NOT recommend skiing out of the controlled ski area boundary at Snowbasin, it is full of avalanche chutes & terrain traps.  The easily accessible Hells Canyon claims lives of the unwary every season.

 

Wolf Lodge is an older property, & I was not aware that they even did vacation rentals.  It should be adequate.

 

The closest liquor store is down the canyon in Ogden just off Harrison & 32nd I think.  They are hidden with odd hours, so get good directions.  The Valley Market is just down the road for groceries & 3.2 beer.

 

The closest Bar will be Harley & Buck's at the Golf Course 1/4 mile from Wolf Lodge, where there is also a good restaurant.

 

Powder Mountain & Snowbasin are both likeable in different ways.  All the other posts in this thread are pretty accurate. 

 

A "Search" on this site will reveal a lot more information.

 

 

DesiredUsername,  Did you get my PM????

 

 

Have Fun,

 

JF

post #16 of 28

I consider myself an "advanced" skier, and what I liked about PowMow is you can go almost anywhere inbounds (not just the groomed runs), and they have some great tree skiing.  The trees were what did it for me there.

post #17 of 28

Not really anything new but a great TR with pics from March 2012.

 

http://www.epicski.com/t/111618/snowbasin-powder-moutain-3-18-3-24

post #18 of 28

Enjoy your stay.  You have some great advice here.  We all get to enjoy this everyday and most of us don't mind sharing the goods.  Problem with visiting here, is chances are you will fall in love with the place and will want to spend more time here.  If you have any real estate questions, please help indirectly support my ski addiction, by calling the folks at mountainluxury.com.  We live in the same neighbor hood and would be happy to answer any of your questions as well.   

post #19 of 28

There's a sweet little video (not mine) of a fun cat ride at Powder Mtn in this link:

http://www.epicski.com/t/81614/tr-powder-mountain-snowcat-run

post #20 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

I'm headed to Eden as well, coming from PNW, will arrive Friday night and stay for a week (part visiting relatives, part skiing vacation).  

 

I appreciate all the above suggestions.  I see that Pow Mow and Snowbasin both have limited lifts and terrain open, so I imagine I'll do a day at each area and then hit some of the other areas.  I'm thinking Solitude and Brighton.  And feedback on how things are skiing right now?   Park City resorts? Suggestions?

 

Me: ski pretty much anything inbounds. Not Gnar, but double blacks are fun. 

Girfriend:  blue runs, maybe some easier blacks.

LCC and BCC areas are all skiing pretty good with a large percentage of terrain and lifts open.  Park City areas are alright but the terrain is more limited.  I think PCMR has the most/best terrain open of the PC areas now.

post #21 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by DesiredUsername View Post

I'm headed to Eden as well, coming from PNW, will arrive Friday night and stay for a week (part visiting relatives, part skiing vacation).  

 

I appreciate all the above suggestions.  I see that Pow Mow and Snowbasin both have limited lifts and terrain open, so I imagine I'll do a day at each area and then hit some of the other areas.  I'm thinking Solitude and Brighton.  And feedback on how things are skiing right now?   Park City resorts? Suggestions?

 

Me: ski pretty much anything inbounds. Not Gnar, but double blacks are fun. 

Girfriend:  blue runs, maybe some easier blacks.


I'd consider skipping Snowbasin unless it snows again. Pickings are very slim, with only 17 runs open. Not only does that mean all of its best terrain is closed, but even just the stuff under the gondola is closed. The top (e.g. Pork Barrel) is fun if it's snowed, but then you just get funneled onto the same blues and greens as every other soul on the mountain. There's still a lot of brown poking through on the lower parts of the runs near Needles, so I don't think they'll get them open without a decent storm. Season pass holders can have fun, but I don't know I'd buy a ticket.

 

Powder just opened up Hidden Lake and the Sunrise tow, so it has much more terrain to choose from. I'd spend both days there or go to the CCs on the second day.

post #22 of 28
Quote:

I'm headed to Eden as well, coming from PNW, will arrive Friday night and stay for a week (part visiting relatives, part skiing vacation).

 

I appreciate all the above suggestions. I see that Pow Mow and Snowbasin both have limited lifts and terrain open, so I imagine I'll do a day at each area and then hit some of the other areas. I'm thinking Solitude and Brighton. And feedback on how things are skiing right now? Park City resorts? Suggestions?

 

Me: ski pretty much anything inbounds. Not Gnar, but double blacks are fun.

Girfriend: blue runs, maybe some easier blacks.

 

I wouldn't spend your time at Snowbasin until more of the mountain is open and skiable and the snow conditions are better.  My understanding from people I work with is that Alta is skiing really nicely now. 

post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB77 View Post

 

I wouldn't spend your time at Snowbasin until more of the mountain is open and skiable and the snow conditions are better.  My understanding from people I work with is that Alta is skiing really nicely now. 

 

OP is planning the trip for late February. 

Snowbasin and Powder Mt should have quite a bit open by then.

post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yea, hoping its wide open by then!
post #25 of 28
Went to Powder Mt on Sat 22nd. Mostly hard pack on groomers. Sunny day though. Snowbasin on Sun 23rd, a few inches new, bluebird, great day. Best runs were from Porcupine.

Pow Mow on the 24th. Snowy all day, tracks from previous run filled in. Best runs were from Sunrise tow and Sun Slope/Powder Chamber from Timberline lift. Fresh tracks all day! Trees! Yay!

Snowbasin on Xmas day. Some leftover stashes of untracked and slightly tracked all day on Porcupine and Utah express.

Solitude on the 26th. Snowed all day, no lift lines. Skied Challenger run off Eagle Express lift 3x during the day and I was the only one on the trail, top to bottom. Still some fresh stashes in Honeycomb canyon after noon. Great resort, great day.

John Paul is opening today at Snowbasin and they got a bunch of snow, but I'm spending time with family today and then heading to Sun Valley.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 

Wow, now that is a fun holiday!! We were talking Christmas, that next year we go to Park City :)

Can't wait to ski PM and SB in Feb!
 

post #27 of 28

Lots of new. low density snow at the Basin today--face shots and chin shots 'o plenty all morning until I had to leave for work.  John Paul opened about 10:30 (or thereabouts) and it was great for a couple of runs.  Lots and lots of people on the mountain and a lot more coming as I was driving home.  My guess is that Strawberry will open by the weekend but nobody I asked knew anything definitive. 

 

Still could use some more snow on lower John Paul area but it is a gigantic improvement from where we have been (except the nice wind buff on top last Saturday).  I hereby rescind my earlier recommendation to stay away until there is more snow. 

post #28 of 28

I'll second SB77's recommendation. I did a half day at Snowbasin and the white room was open as long as the lifts. Some of the deepest snow I've ever seen - thigh deep was standard, got it up to the chest a few times. Since John Paul just opened, it was quite a bit deeper than the 20 inches reported. Still a lot of weeds, half-concealed rocks, logs and other obstacles around the mountain, though.

 

Powder is opening Paradise, Powder Country and Lightning Ridge (i.e. all its best terrain) for the first time tomorrow. They only reported 6 inches this morning, but they got 20 going into Christmas, so it should be an epic day.

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